In response to complaints of growing violence against New Jersey Transit employees, The Board of Directors of NJ Transit, voted this week to approve a proposal, that if enacted, would effectively ban anyone from an NJ Transit train or bus that has been convicted of assaulting a New Jersey Transit employee.

"The safety of NJ TRANSIT employees is always our top priority,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Individuals who commit an assault against a transit worker will face serious consequences, including the possibility of losing the privilege to ride the transit system.  Let these proposed regulations be a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated on NJ TRANSIT services.”

Anyone banned from the system will have ten days to appeal before a special panel.  Employees will receive pictures of those banned.  If someone is found to be violating the ban, they will face arrest.

Violence against New Jersey Transit employees has been on the rise.  Earlier this year, a group of New Jersey Transit workers filed lawsuits alleging that New Jersey Transit hasn't done enough to protect them.  Employees have complained of being physically assaulted, spit on, and attacked with weapons.

In January, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Motorbus and Passenger Rail Service Employee Violence Prevention Act, legislation that would stiffen penalties for anyone who commits an act of violence against transportation employees.  Those convicted of assaulting transit employees will now face a three-to-five-year prison term and up to $15,000 in fines.

Mark Makela, Getty Images
Mark Makela, Getty Images

In addition to harsher penalties and bans, the Motorbus and Passenger Rail Service Employee Violence Prevention Act also requires NJ Transit and private bus companies to equip all buses and trains with communications systems to quickly contact law enforcement in an emergency.

The new rules are now open for public comment for 60 days before going into effect.

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